Guanyin in Meditation
Item No. 16755
17th - 18th Century, Buddhist, China
Wood with Polychrome
33" x 14" x 10"
( 83.82 x 35.56 x 25.4 cm)
(H x W x D)
Guanyin sits in meditation, her hands with the tips her finely arching thumbs touching in triratna, or the triple gems of Buddhism the Buddha, the Dharma (the Buddhist teachings) and the Sangha (the community of monks). Her serene sensitively modeled face leans slightly forward, with eyes almost closed under delicately carved arched eyebrows closed in meditation. Elegant strands of hair frame her forehead and fall in three plaits on her shoulders while a three lobed arched diadem holds back her chignon. The diadem contains an image of the Buddha Amitabha standing surrounded by cloud forms. Her shawl falls gently around her body, opening at the chest to reveal a strand of precious gems befitting a revered bodhisattva. Much of the original saffron colored pigmentation remains on her face and body.
The back of the carving reveals a large double cavity, extending almost the length of the statue. This cavity was used to place scriptures, ritualistic items, messages to the deities in the heavens, all wrapped in a string. When the piece was originally carved, it was taken to a Buddhist priest who performed an eye opening ceremony at which time the piece was consecrated and the spirit of Guanyin was entreated to reside in the statue. The piece was either on a main statue in a Buddhist temple dedicate to the Buddha or a temple dedicated to Guanyin.